Dating game economist
In the case of online dating, the “shared resource” is women users’ attention: if every man “overfishes” then the women’s attention (and patience) runs out, and the women abandon the app altogether.
Traditional heterosexual dating apps have a fatal flaw: women get flooded with low-quality messages – at best vapid, at worst boorish – to the point where checking the inbox becomes an unappealing chore.
Others take a more scientific approach, but still agree on one thing: if you are dealing with a dilemma as to whether you should go for an economist or not, you should be prepared that an economist will be very unlikely to resist a temptation to apply professionally learned principles to their love life, too.
Surprisingly for some, many of their assumptions might turn out true.
One way to view the problem is as a tragedy of the commons, where users acting in their (narrow) self-interest over-exploit a shared resource and therefore harm the common good, ultimately harming themselves.
The classic example is overfishing: each individual fisherman is tempted to harvest the ocean just a little bit more, and improve his current catch, but if all the fishermen do so then the piscine population plummets and everyone suffers in the long run.
Flores, an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in Dating and Job-Hunting, and what happens when academics get into online dating in Geek Love: Dating While Academic and Other Misadventures.